The first time you land in Taipei, you’re immediately struck be a series of things. Alongside the heat/humidity/car fumes, there are the huge numbers of Starbucks and 7-11 convenience stores as well as the perpetual clouds hanging over the nearby hills. Look close at the people, then you will notice facemasks and – absolutely everywhere on the roads – mopeds. KitGuru prepares to get 2-stroked and wonders if the ending will be happy.
Taiwan is a country that’s roughly the size of Wales, but with a few additional people living there. While the sheep-loving population of Wales is around 3 million, the moped-loving folks of Taiwan total around 23 million.
According to the latest government figures, there are almost 22 million vehicles registered in Taiwan and, of those, almost 70% are for mopeds.
That’s close to 15 million mopeds.
Or, to put it another way, there are SIX mopeds in Taiwan for every man, woman and child living in Toronto or FIVE for every man woman and child living in Wales or TWO for everyone living in the city of New York.
Alongside Starbucks and 7-11, most streets seem to have an independent phone reseller, a barber shop and some kind of moped repair centre.
No surprise then, that Taiwan has been pushing hard to allow greater flexibility for moped technology exports to nearby Japan. And now, it seems that the Taiwanese government has got its way as Taiwan’s China Motor Corporation is ready to open up Tokyo with a shipment of 2,000 electric mopeds.
These bikes will have 1.35 to 1.6kw engines and perform in a similar way to the old fashioned (and rather more smelly) 100cc mopeds of yesteryear.
KitGuru says: It’s easy to imagine the Triumph and Norton owners laughing when crates arrived from Japan in the early 70s – marked with strange names like Honda and Suzuki. Wonder if the Japanese manufacturers will be laughing now?
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